Armenia – US Relations: Friendship and Cooperation
The United States recognized the independence of Armenia on December 25, 1991, and the two countries established diplomatic relations on January 7, 1992. The United States and Armenia opened embassies in their respective capitals in February 1992. In addition to the Armenian Embassy in Washington, DC, the Republic of Armenia has two other diplomatic missions in the United States: the UN Permanent Mission in New York (since March 1992), and a Consulate-General in Los Angeles (since 1995).
Bilateral relations between the United States and the Republic of Armenia are based on the firm foundation of reciprocal understanding and mutual respect, and are aimed at advancing common goals and values, and creating favorable atmosphere for development of a prosperous, stable and secure Armenia.
From the very first days of reestablishment of Armenia’s independence in 1991, the United States exerted concerted efforts to help Armenia during the difficult transition form a centralized state and planned economy to democratic society and open markets, and to date has provided nearly $1.4 billion in humanitarian and technical assistance to Armenia. US economic assistance programs are targeted at creation of a legal, regulatory, and policy framework for economic growth in energy, agriculture and housing (providing housing and economic reactivation for victims of the 1988 earthquake) and other sectors, development of a competitive and efficient private sector. Training assistance and special programs in municipal administration, intergovernmental relations, public affairs, diplomatic training, rule of law, strengthening political parties, promoting free and fair elections and the establishment of an independent judiciary and independent media, local non-governmental organizations (NGO) capacity building are targeted at support of civil society.
Since 1992 Armenia and the United States have signed three major agreements regulating the trade and economic relations between the two countries. They include Agreement of Trade relations, Investment and Protection of Investment. Negotiations for a bilateral tax agreement are underway.
The U.S. – Armenia Task Force on Economic Reform and Cooperation, established in 2000, is a productive framework to promote trade and investments in Armenia, as well as to facilitate economic and legal reform. Goals and objectives set forth by the Task Force are to rebuild Armenia’s economy and create employment opportunities.
Currently around 70 American companies do business in Armenia in the fields of precious stone processing and jewelry manufacturing, information and communication technology, food processing, mining and tourism. The bilateral trade volume has grown by 43% in 2001, with Armenian exports to the U.S. at $33 million, and imports from the U.S. at $50 million.
As conditions in Armenia show positive signs of improvement and development – stabilization of the economy, strengthening of macroeconomic management, improvement of the investment climate, acceleration of the privatization process, stability of the political situation – Armenia undertakes major efforts toward a larger involvement in the U.S. – sponsored regional economic integration and cooperation projects.
As a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group the United States is actively engaged in the Minsk Group endeavors to find a peaceful, negotiated solution to the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict. The United States’ positive involvement and intensified efforts within the Minsk Group resulted in Armenian – Azeri summit in Key West in April 2001.With an aim to promote peace and stability of the region Armenia has established a constructive dialogue with the U.S. Government in the military and security areas, including defense cooperation. In July 2000, Armenia and the United States signed Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of Armenia Concerning Cooperation in the Area of Counter – Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction. The two governments have held bilateral security dialogue since 1998.
Following September 11, Armenia has offered unconditional support for the United States in its efforts against the international terrorism. From day one of the U.S. – led military campaign in Afghanistan, Armenia provided its airspace, refueling and landing for U.S. aircraft, and other tangible assistance.
The U.S. – led battle against international terrorism and the challenges of the new geopolitics put forward new tasks for the U.S. administration, resulting in the waiver of the Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act restricting U.S. assistance to Azerbaijan, including military. As a matter of policy, the restriction of the U.S. military assistance was applied to Armenia as well. The new circumstances offer substantial opportunities of cooperation in the military sphere.
The Armenian – American community, as on of the largest and influential segments in the Armenian Diaspora, plays an important role in cultivating a firm and strategic partnership between Armenia and the United States. It is the important human link between two countries.